Focus on IP, tools and manufacturing for Renesas MCU expansion - Embedded.com

Focus on IP, tools and manufacturing for Renesas MCU expansion

Renesas Electronics Corp. has outlined a three pronged attack intended to expand its microcontroller (MCU) business faster than the market growth rate.

The company aims to achieve an average annual growth rate of 8 to 10 percent in 2012 and to expand its overseas sales in China in particular and other developing countries as well, by 50 to 60 percent over current levels.

On first viewing the moves seem obvious as they try and get the best out of the alignment of the  NEC Electronics Corp. and Renesas Technology Corp., MCU businesses, both in the business direction and in its product portfolio.

Renesas' moves cover the early launch of optimal MCU products for each application area as well as the expansion of the product lineups, customer support for more efficient software development, and construction of a highly flexible manufacturing system, called the 'fab network'.

It will standardize all of the peripheral IPs, such as timers and communication functions, incorporated in the company’s MCUs to make them compatible to every one of the company’s CPU cores including the 78K, R8C, RX, SuperH and V850.

The company also will integrate its infrastructure (platform) for developing MCUs through combinations of CPU cores, peripheral functions and built-in memory devices and will shorten the product-development period by approximately two-thirds of that previously required.

This replaces the previous approach that saw the peripheral functions that configure an MCU were developed separately for each CPU core.

Renesas Electronics will provide its customers with a standardized development tool common to all of Renesas Electronics’ CPU cores to improve utilization of software assets and increased efficiency of software development.

Hardware development tools including emulators and flash writers that are fully compatible with all of Renesas Electronics’ CPU cores are scheduled to be available starting in December 2012.

An integrated development environment (IDE) and software development tools including compilers also are scheduled for availability starting in April 2011, allowing system designers to conduct the same operation for every MCU.

While prior to the merger, each company developed and applied three process technologies for their respective MCUs. Renesas Electronics is now integrating those six into three processes: 40- and 90-nanometer processes for the development and production of high-speed MCUs with high performance and large-capacity flash memory, and a 130nm process for the development of low-power MCUs with small- and medium-scale built-in flash memory devices.

By integrating the process technologies, Renesas Electronics will be able to form a 'fab network', allowing the same product to be manufactured at multiple plants. For example, for the 40 and 90nm processes, the Naka plant and Renesas Yamagata Semiconductor’s Tsuruoka plant will be available, and for the 130nm process, the Saijo plant and the Renesas Semiconductor Kyushu Yamaguchi’s Kawashiri plant are available to manufacture the same product (cross-production). It plans to accelerate the development of its 40nm MCUs and expects sample shipment of the first 40nm MCU to begin in 2012. In July it  announced that it would be using foundries for all of its 28-nm and smaller geometry semiconductor products.

Renesas Electronics will strengthen its MCU marketing function within its sales subsidiary in Renesas Electronics (China) Co., Ltd. to create product-growth systems suitable for each region. It plans to expand its MCU product lineups to 1,000 products by 2012 and expand its MCU sales in the Chinese market.

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